Re-Enactors Show How a Militia Ensured Washington’s Revolutionary Charge at Princeton


PRINCETON, N.J.–Before Gen. George Washington entered the battlefield with reinforcements on the morning of Jan. 3, 1777, members of the Pennsylvania militia fired off two cannons to halt the advancing British troops.

What Washington needed most 242 years ago was for the militia to delay the bayonet-wielding British soldiers operating under the command of Lt. Col. Charles Mawhood.

So historical interpreters and colonial-era reenactors told The Daily Signal and crowds of onlookers during a real-time tour Dec. 30 at Princeton Battlefield State Park.

“Those cannons were critically important,” re-enactor Brandon Aglio explained as he posed beside one of the 3-pounder guns used in the reenactment. “This is because the British were on offense and the cannon fire halted their advance, giving Washington the time he needed to organize the additional American troops that were coming onto the field.”

About 200 local residents and out-of-town visitors attended the tour, which included a re-enactment of the battle.

The actual fighting began at about 8:15 a.m. that Jan. 3, when British and American forces exchanged musket fire across a range of about 40 yards in an orchard on the William Clarke farm. The British initially outnumbered the Americans and had the upper hand, but this would change …read more